Women’s softball struggles at Kennesaw State

After an impressive opening weekend at the Mercer University Invitational that saw the women’s softball team jump to a 5-1 record, the Bears faltered at the Kennesaw State Tournament and failed to pick up a single win. The Bears are now 5-5 on the year.
With a solid first weekend under their belt, the Bears traveled up the road to play in the Kennesaw State Tournament in Woodstock, Ga. Mercer did not come home with the results they wanted, going 0-4 on the weekend.
In game one of the weekend, the Bears faced UT Martin with Rice starting inside the circle. Rice allowed seven hits over the first three innings although it wasn’t entirely the junior pitcher’s fault. The Bears’ defense committed to three errors that helped lead to the Skyhawks first seven runs.
The Bears were able to claw their way back into the game in the bottom of the third. Mercer scored five runs off a pair of two-run RBI from Rachel Hugghins and freshman Ashton Holt.
Woody scored one of her three runs on the day in the bottom of the fourth to bring the Bears within one, 7-6.Woody led off the inning with a double down the left field line before scoring off a sacrifice fly off the bat of Garmany. 
UT Martin extended their lead to 8-6 with a run in the top of the fifth before Mercer took its first lead in the bottom of the sixth.
The Skyhawks substituted pitchers at the start of the sixth, which led to five walks and a pair of Mercer base hits. In turn, this allowed four Mercer runs to come across giving the Bears the outright lead 10-8 into the final inning.
Unfortunately, Nidiffer was not able to close things out. After giving up a pair of lead off singles, Mercer had a shot to turn a quick double play. Haney made a throwing error that sailed over Garmany’s head, allowing one run to score and more importantly left a Skyhawks runner on the base pads.
Nidiffer secured the inning’s second out on the next play, but with a runner on second allowed a two-out double that tied the game again. UT Martin’s very next batter reached on fielder’s choice that scored the game-winning run.
Mercer allowed 12 hits and gave up four errors in the one-run loss.
Despite her best efforts, Nidiffer could not seal the win for the second game of the day against Tennessee Tech. She threw a solid game, but in this match up, it was the offense that cost the Bears the game.
Mercer was limited to just four hits with the lone run coming off the bat of Rea. In the sixth inning, the Bears were trailing 3-0 when Rea took a full count offering deep to left center for her third home run of the season.
Tennessee’s Tech’s starting pitcher threw a complete game, giving up just one earned run and striking out two.  
Woody showed an impressive individual performance, tallying two more hits in the game and improving her season average to .464. At this point, she leads the team with 13 hits on the year.  
Mercer junior McKenzie Woody tallied two more hits in game two, improving her season average to .464. She leads the team with 13 hits on the year.     
The Mercer softball team finished up play at the Kennesaw State Classic on Sunday with two more losses, putting them at 5-5 on the year.
In the first game against SIUE, the Bears allowed four runs to come across in the first. Rice faced just four batters in receiving the start before being replaced by Nidiffer.
Nidiffer came in and quickly settled things down by only allowing just one more run over the next three innings. The Mercer offense did their best to get back into the game. Santana hit her first homerun of the season, a two-run shot to center that cut the SIUE lead to 5-2.
 Mercer batters stayed hot as Kennedy led off the fourth inning with the first of her two homeruns on the day, a solo home shot to left center. Still trailing 5-3 later in the inning, Haney hit the first collegiate homerun.
Haney cranked on a pitch with the bases loaded and put the Bears on top, 7-5 with a grand slam to right.  
SIUE quickly responded in the fifth. Nidiffer looked strong in retiring the Cougars’ first two batters of the inning. However, Nidiffer hit the next SIUE batter and then allowed back-to-back hits that led to the game-tying runs.
SIUE took the game off an error by Haney allowing the Cougar runner on third to cross over home.
After another disappointing loss, the Bears played their last game of the tournament against Eastern Kentucky University. The game remained scoreless until the Colonels took the lead in the third with an RBI double off Nidiffer who had received the Mercer start.
The Bears did not produce offensively, recording just six hits in the game with Woody equaling half of those.
Kennedy was able to tie the game hitting a solo shot to the left for her second of the day.
Mercer committed a season-high of five errors, two of which occurred in the bottom of the fourth when EKU took the lead.  
Nidiffer limited EKU to just six hits of their own while striking out two batters giving up one earned in fourth complete game of the season.
Mercer (5-5) did not come home with the results they wanted at the Kennesaw State Classic, but they will get back at it in practice in preparation to play at Georgia Tech on Wednesday at 6 p.m.